The Vatican bank has blocked the accounts of more than 2,000 clients and ended some 3,000 customer relationships as part of a clean-up process that nearly wiped out its profit, its 2013 financial statement showed on Tuesday.
Vatican administrators need a change of mentality and must ensure that the Holy See's finances are efficient, transparent and primarily aimed at helping the most needy, Pope Francis said on Friday.
Pope Francis named top laymen from the worlds of finance and economics to a new Vatican Council for the Economy, intended to improve scrutiny of the Holy See's scandal-plagued accounts.The creation of the 15-member council is a major step in bringing lay people into the Vatican, and reflects a drive by Francis to make changes to an establishment often seen as murky and secretive.
Pope Francis has taken his boldest step yet to overhaul the Vatican's scandal-plagued finances, creating a new department with broad powers to oversee all of its economic and administrative affairs, the Vatican announced on Monday. The Secretariat for the Economy will answer directly to the pope and will be headed by Australian Cardinal George Pell, currently the archbishop of Sydney.
Pope Francis shook up the scandal-plagued Vatican bank, removing four of five cardinals from an oversight body in a break with the clerical financial establishment he inherited from his predecessor. It was his latest move to get to grips with an institution that has often been an embarrassment for the Holy See and which he has vowed to either reform or close.
As part of the Vatican's ongoing efforts to ensure that all its financial activity complies with international standards, particularly those aimed at preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism, Pope Francis has expanded the role and the reach of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority.
The Vatican bank opened its web site www.ior.va on Wednesday as it steps up efforts to improve its tarnished image after a succession of financial scandals and repeated criticisms of its lack of transparency.
The Vatican bank or Institute for Works of Religion, IOR, needs more reform in order to show it is effective at preventing financial crime, a report by a European banking watchdog has said.